A practice management system (PMS) is designed to be a firm’s central hub – essential to the smooth, efficient running of the firm. However, if these systems are to retain this vital role, they’ll have to move with the times.
What does that mean? Technology is not only getting slicker, faster and more accessible, it’s enabling a profound change in workforce dynamics. Consumer devices in particular have been at the forefront of changing people’s expectations about when and where they can work – workers want to unshackle themselves from a nine-to-five, officebased model and PMSs must adapt if they want to keep up with this trend.
A PMS will have to re-architect so that it’s available 24/7 from outside the office, preferably in a way that doesn’t involve cumbersome logins to the office network. Usability is also a consideration. Lawyers will want to access the system while they’re on the move – they may be on a train while using a smartphone or a tablet. Legal tech developers need to ensure that systems are usable on devices with small screens and keyboards.
Another point of adaptation is that systems will need to increase visibility. The different parties using the PMS are likely to be physically dispersed, so there will be value in developing functionality that tells one hand what the other hand is doing. For example, a solicitor on a train may raise a payment, which the finance department can pick up via the system and progress.
Finally, in a world of cyberattacks and increasing concern over data privacy (like GDPR), PMSs will need protocols to ensure tight data security, and that data can only be accessed by the right people.
To remain relevant, a PMS must make these adaptations. A case in point is Tikit’s Partner for Windows (P4W). We were able to launch our new strategic roadmap for P4W when the product celebrated its 20th birthday at the P4W National User Group Conference, held last month in London.
This roadmap outlined how Tikit is altering P4W’s architecture to securely extend its remote accessibility, and how the user interface is being updated to ensure enhanced usability and agility on a range of devices. We’re also streamlining the capacity to integrate P4W with other bestof-breed solutions to provide an all-in-one application. We’ve also developed digital signatures and instant client messaging.
Firms must be confident that they’re using the right legal technology – systems must both serve the firm’s current needs and be future-proofed. With P4W, firms will get that: Tikit has an established track record in horizon scanning and ensuring that its customers always have legal tech which meets their fast-evolving needs. Your firm’s PMS vendor must do the same.
This article appeared in LPM February 2019 - Innovation nation